Neuroscience student suspected in Colorado shooting rampage
P. Solomon Banda and Thomas Peipert
AURORA, Colo. — The Associated Press
Published Friday, Jul. 20 2012, 4:32 AM EDT
A gunman in a gas mask hurled a gas canister and opened fire in a sold-out Colorado theatre during a midnight showing of the new Batman movie Friday, killing 12 people and injuring 59 in one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history.
As smoke from the canister spread, audience members watching “The Dark Knight Rises” at the suburban Denver theatre saw the silhouette of a person materialize near the screen, point a gun at the crowd and begin shooting, apparently without a word.
New York City’s police commissioner said he was told the gunman had painted his hair red and called himself the Joker — Batman’s nemesis — but Aurora police would not confirm that.
It was one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history.The suspected gunman, identified as James Holmes, a 24-year-old doctoral student in neuroscience who was about to drop out of the University of Colorado-Denver, was arrested near a car behind the theatre.Authorities gave no motive for the attack.
The FBI said there was no indication of ties to any terrorist groups.“There were bullet (casings) just falling on my head. They were burning my forehead,” Jennifer Seeger said, adding that the gunman, dressed like a SWAT team member, fired steadily except when he stopped to reload.“Every few seconds it was just boom, boom, boom,” Seeger said. “He would reload and shoot and anyone who would try to leave would just get killed.”The shooting immediately brought memories of the massacre at nearby Columbine High School in 1999, where two students opened fire and killed 12 classmates and a teacher. Friday’s attack was the worst mass shooting in the U.S. since an Army psychiatrist killed 13 soldiers and civilians at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009.Police said 71 people in all were shot.
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